German official offers controversial solution to gas crisis – media
Germany should study the issue of producing domestic shale gas using fracking, which is currently prohibited in the country, Finance Minister Christian Lindner has said in an interview with the Funke media group, as quoted by TASS.
The technology allows oil and gas to be extracted from shale rock by breaking it up with pressurized liquid, including water and chemicals. The technique has been used in Germany since the 1960s to extract natural gas from conventional reserves, including sandstone and carbonate stones. About one third of the natural gas produced in the country comes from reserves tapped by fracking.
However, “unconventional fracking” in shale and coal seams, which uses horizontal drilling techniques, was placed under moratorium in 2011, and then largely banned in Germany due to environmental risks such as water pollution, or even earthquakes.
“We have significant gas deposits in Germany that can be extracted without endangering drinking water,” Lindner said. “It would be rather irresponsible to refrain from fracking because of ideological commitments.”
According to the official, production is possible “at several” fields, with Germany able to meet relatively large needs from its own sources, which would be useful in light of the situation across the world.
The call comes amid an unprecedented energy crisis resulting from a reduction in energy imports from Russia, formerly the bloc’s biggest supplier. The conflict in Ukraine has resulted in an all-out sanctions war against Moscow, targeting commodities including oil and gas, and contributing to soaring energy prices in the EU and worldwide.
In April, German Vice-Chancellor and Energy Minister Robert Habeck rejected the idea of extracting shale gas in Germany by fracking due to environmental concerns. He stressed that it would take years before it would be possible to obtain the necessary permits and establish production using the method.
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